REWIND! Had to Have These Books, but They’re STILL Languishing on the Bookshelf…

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Today’s Top Ten Tuesday Topic:
REWIND!!
Top Ten Books I Had to Have…but are STILL Languishing on the Bookshelf
(click here for original post)

  1. The Millennium Series by Stieg Larsson
    I bought the audiobooks when they were first released because my husband & I were both interested in them, and we listen to audiobooks together on road trips.  They are still on the shelf almost a year later…one road trip this year, and not long enough for even one of those books.  Sad.
  2. A Thousand Splendid Sons by Khalid Hosseini
    I bought the audio version of this and The Kite Runner at the same time.  Listened to The Kite Runner and LOVED it, but have not gotten to this yet.
  3. The Chronicles of Narnia by C. S. Lewis
    This set has been on my shelf for at least 10 years, and has followed me through several moves.  I purchased it with the conviction that I should read it, because it’s an incredible shame that I never even knew they existed when I was an adolescent.  Still there…still waiting…
  4. Hearts in Atlantis & Insomnia by Stephen King
    I have loved Stephen King since I was in 9th grade, and have devoured 30ish of his books over the years.  For some reason these never made it past the bookshelf, and I eventually got rid of both, though I have since re-purchased Hearts in Atlantis in audio format.  The last several King books I’ve “read” were actually listening experiences, and that is proving to be my preference lately.
  5. If On a Winter’s Night a Traveler by Italo Calvino
    Purchased for a book group read, I had grand hopes of finishing it.  I barely got started, and with the distractions of a new baby and home renovations, it was abandoned and is still on the shelf.  I haven’t discarded it, so there is hope that eventually it will make it into the pile of current reads.
  6. Memoirs of a Geisha by Arthur Golden
    I bought this book when it was causing a stir on the book scene, and it sat on the shelf for years.  I finally sold it to the used bookstore, only to repurchase in audio format.  Still there, but I’m hoping to get to it this year.
  7. The Bourne Series by Robert Ludlum
    These sat on my shelf for years until I finally sold them when I was getting ready to move out of state.  They were a recommendation from my brother, and for some reason I never got excited about reading them, even after having seen the movies.  They are still on my TBR list, so hope is still alive that I will read them one day.
  8. Everything Monica McInerney has written
    McInerney is an Australian author, and I stumbled across her books Family Baggage and The Alphabet Sisters through http://www.dearreader.com.  I devoured those books and started looking for more, only to discover that the rest of her books had only been published in Australia.  Thanks to my online book club, I had a contact, and over the next year I exchanged books with her…she sent me the McInerney books I couldn’t get in the States, and I sent her book club selections that were difficult for her to find.  I have read a couple more of them and I love them, but I hate the thought of finishing the and having no more to look forward to, so I space them out.  Silly, I know, but sadly true.
  9. Complete sets of F. Scott Fitzgerald and Ernest Hemingway
    For some reason, I thought I needed “the complete set” of whatever classic author was on the radar at the moment.  So I bought them…in fact, I bought the book club editions, which have virtually no resale value when one decides to part with them.  I have not parted with them, but I’ve not read them either.  They do, at least, look good on the bookshelf.
  10. The Space Between Us & If Today Be Sweet by Thrity Umrigar
    I have been on an Indian literature kick for the past couple of years.  It’s not a constant pursuit, but when I find Indian novels that look interesting, I can’t resist buying them.  Not only did I purchase these, but I bought The Space Between Us at full price, which is almost unheard of for me.  They are still on the shelf, and I will get to them, but I signed myself up for all these reading challenges this year…

Updates 6-5-12: 

  • My husband and I (finally) listened to the first Larssen book – The Girl with the Dragon Tattoo – last year on a road trip.  We loved it, and we’ve been saving the other two until we can listen together.
  • I listened to This Side of Paradise by F. Scott Fitzgerald last year.  I recognize how good Fitzgerald always is, but I didn’t love the book.  So four down…
  • Listened to For Whom the Bell Tolls last year – well, half of it – and I thoroughly enjoyed the half I got through.  It is a long and heavy book, and after 9 discs, with 9 still to go, I needed some lighter fare.
  • I got rid of the Stephen King books (both heavy hardback editions), and I have Hearts in Atlantis on my audio shelf.  I doubt I will ever read Insomnia unless I get a renewed interest in all things Stephen King.  I’m still a fan, and I have read enough of his books to know that I’ve (likely) read the majority of his very best work already (The Stand, The Green Mile, The Tommyknockers, It, Salem’s Lot, all of his books from the 70s & 80s).  What I haven’t read (and still want to read) is already on my shelves (Lisey’s Story, Hearts in Atlantis, On Writing, some of his short stories / novellas).
  • I have added to my collect of Monica McInerney books as they have been published in the US, but have not (yet) gotten back to them.  I’m sort of savoring the memory of what I have read so far, and enjoying the anticipation of reading more.

That’s it!  More updates to come at some point…hopefully…unless I get sidetracked with some other wonderful book.  Too many books, and not nearly enough time to read them all.

REVIEW: Home to Italy by Peter Pezzelli

Format:  Trade Paperback
Genre:  General Fiction, Italian Lit

ISBN:  0758207689
Published:  September 2004
Setting:  Italy

Rating:  4 of 5 stars

Back of the Book Blurb:

In this delightful, moving debut novel, Peter Pezzelli brings to life the earthy sensuality of Tuscany—the smell of just-baked bread wafting through the village piazza; the shopkeepers sweeping the sidewalks under the warm, early morning sun; groups of cyclists dotting the mountain roads—and spins a story of May-December romance as sharp and delicious as the olives of Villa San Giuseppe…

After the death of his beloved wife, Anna, Peppi’s family and friends expect him to bury his grief by tending to his gardens and taking long rides on his bike. Instead, Peppi shocks them all with his decision to return to Villa San Giuseppe, the small Italian village where he spent his childhood, and to il mulino, his family’s old mill. But once he’s back, he temporarily moves into an apartment over the candy factory run by his childhood best friend, Luca. It is modest, but livable, with a lovely view of Luca’s neglected gardens and his equally neglected daughter, the fiery Lucrezia.

More a force of nature than a woman, Lucrezia’s legendary temper and workaholic schedule hide the very real pain she feels over her husband’s death years before. At first, she tolerates Peppi as an eccentric annoyance—her father’s strange but handsome American friend who fixes things around the factory and is bringing the gardens back to life. But soon, Lucrezia’s interest in Peppi deepens. Like a high wind, the gossip is flying through Villa San Giuseppe—Lucrezia’s making it to dinner on time. She’s eating olives from a man’s hand. She’s wearing heels. Now, under the warm Tuscan sun, a tentative romance begins to bloom between the grieving pair, yielding to a surprisingly strong passion with the power to heal life’s wounds and promise second chances…

My Thoughts:

After the initial couple of chapters, I thoroughly enjoyed this book.  I was afraid at first that it was going to be a struggle to enjoy the story due to some herky-jerky prose in the beginning, but once I got past the first couple of chapters, Pezzelli found his stride and the book sort of took off from there.  It’s a sweet, well-rounded story that is easy to relate to, and it is an easy, enjoyable read.  I am not a romance reader by habit or choice, so this is exactly the kind of light reading that suits me.  It is not a romance per se, but a good story of loss & friendship that is (somewhat predictably) built around a new May-December romance.

Perhaps I liked it even more than I might have otherwise due to the setting…I mean, it’s hard to dislike as picturesque (and lovestruck) a setting as a small town in Italy.  However, I would venture a guess that Pezzelli has found his niche, and will prove to be an author in the vein of Maeve Binchy, Monica McInerney, and others…authors whose stories are appealing for both their exotic (to some) settings and their universally understood personal dynamics.